eBay, Amazon, Play.com: where to sell online for less

Keyboard and mouseIf you want to make a bit of money from those things you don't use very much, if at all, lying around your home, you could do a car boot sale. Or you could sell your items online via one of a number of sites.

For years, eBay was the number one place to sell second-hand stuff online, but Amazon's Marketplace has grown in popularity. And Play.com has now changed its business model from retail site to a marketplace called Play Trade.
So let's have a look at how those three sites compare on price and number of visitors. This analysis is based on an infrequent user, not someone selling masses of items.

Online marketplaces: fees and charges

Insertion fees: Free-£1.30 (sliding scale based on value of item, type of item and type of sale)

Final value fees: 10% of final selling price up to a maximum of £75

If your item doesn't sell, you don't pay a final value fee and you can relist it. If it sells, you may receive a credit on the insertion fee.

Ranked seventh-most popular site in the UK by web analytics firm Alexa.

Completion fee: 86p per item

Closing fee: 11.5% (electronics and photos items), 40.25% (Kindle accessories), 17.25% (other items)

Ranked fifth-most popular site in the UK by Alexa

Play.com Trade
Complete sale fee: 50p

Commission: 10%

Ranked 90th-most popular site in the UK by Alexa

How they compare for selling popular items
Now let's have a look at how the charges stack up for a number of different popular items.

Type of item and sale price eBay cost Amazon cost Play.com cost
DVD box set (£10) £1.20 (20p Buy It Now insertion fee + £1 final value fee) £2.58 (86p completion fee + £1.72 closing fee) £1.50 (50p complete sale fee + £1 commission)
Designer dress (£30) £3.40 (40p Buy It Now insertion fee + £3 final value fee) £6.03 (86p completion fee + £5.17 closing fee) £3.50 (50p complete sale fee + £3 commission)
Digital camera (£95) £9.90 (40p Buy It Now insertion fee + £9.50 final value fee) £11.78 (86p completion fee + £10.92 closing fee) £10 (50p complete sale fee + £9.50 commission)
In the examples above, I've only looked at the Buy It Now option on eBay, but you do have the option of an auction-style listing, where you could sell for more than if you just listed the item at a fixed price.

In the examples above, eBay consistently comes out cheapest. However, eBay generally requires you to use PayPal to receive payment for your goods. And PayPal has fees of its own – 3.4% of the transaction amount plus a fixed fee of 20p.

And if you want to withdraw money from your Play Trade account to your bank or building society account, it will cost you 5% of the amount you're transferring. Or you can spend the amount in full on Play.com.

Let's look at our table again with these things factored in.

Type of item and sale price eBay cost Amazon cost Play.com cost
DVD box set (£10) £1.74 (£1.20 eBay fees + 54p PayPal fees) £2.58 (86p completion fee + £1.72 closing fee) £2 (£1.50 selling fees + 50p transfer fee)
Designer dress (£30) £4.62 (£3.40 eBay fees + £1.22 PayPal fees) £6.03 (86p completion fee + £5.17 closing fee) £5 (£3.50 selling fees + £1 transfer fee)
Digital camera (£95) £13.33 (£9.90 eBay fees + £3.43 PayPal fees) £11.78 (86p completion fee + £10.92 closing fee) £14.75 (£10 selling fees + £4.75 transfer fee)

If you start selling more expensive items, the less competitive eBay and Play become against Amazon.

However, based on popularity, you'd have to say eBay and Amazon were the best bets – for now at least and certainly for items Play isn't traditionally renowned for, such as clothes and non-entertainment equipment.

Don't forget to factor in postage costs to your selling price too.

Other alternatives

This rival to eBay charges no insertion fees for listings. There's just a final value fee of 3% of the sale price. You'll also likely pay a transacton fee via one of the online payment sites via PayPal. While eBid is growing it certainly doesn't get anywhere near the audience of its competitors yet.

This second-hand site offers free listings with no fees and might be worth a shot before you try the paid-for services.

Craigslist and Gumtree
These regional sites are more aimed at jobseekers, people searching for a home to rent and lonely hearts. Again, they might be worth a try before the paid-for sites as they're free to use but beware of timewasters and scammers.

What sites do you sell on? Let us know in the Comments section below.

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eBay, Amazon, Play.com: where to sell online for less

Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.

To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.

At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.

It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.

With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.

No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.

Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.

Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.

While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.

However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
To avoid paying over the odds, it is also worth checking the price per kilo to ensure that larger 'economy' packs really are cheaper than the smaller versions.

Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.

However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.

Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.

Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.
Before signing up, it is therefore essential to check that you will make use of enough of the benefits, and that you cannot get them for less elsewhere.

Overseas money transfers or travel money purchases attract the same high rate of interest as credit card cash withdrawals.

Worse still, most credit cards – and debit cards – also charge you a foreign loading fee if you use them to make purchases while abroad.
You can, however, avoid these charges by using a Saga Platinum or Nationwide Building Society credit card.

Numbers starting 0871 cost 10p or more from a landline, while those starting 09 can cost more than £1 a minute from a mobile phone.

And the operators of these high-cost phone lines, some of which are banks, often get a cut of the call charges.
Most 09 numbers are linked to scams and should therefore be avoided at all costs, while 0871 numbers can often be bypassed by searching for an alternative local rate numbers on the saynoto0870.com.

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